September, 2012

  • Experts Respond to New Microsoft Proposal for a National Talent Strategy

    Posted by Jeff Meisner
    Editor, Microsoft on the Issues

    Yesterday, Microsoft released a white paper highlighting a key challenge facing the U.S. economy – the critical and growing shortage of skilled workers able to fill the new high-skilled jobs that are being created. The white paper outlines ideas for a National Talent Strategy, including reforms in education and immigration that would help strengthen U.S. competitiveness and economic growth.

    Microsoft Executive Vice President Brad Smith helped shine a light on these challenges facing the next generation, and talked about the recommendations for action at the Brookings Institution event, “Education and Immigration Reform: Reigniting American Competitiveness and Economic Opportunity.” During the event, panelists discussed the opportunity divide facing a growing number of young people and the proposal for fostering more forward-looking education and immigration policies.

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  • Strengthening American Competitiveness and Creating Opportunity for the Next Generation

    Posted by Brad Smith
    General Counsel & Executive Vice President, Legal & Corporate Affairs, Microsoft

    The United States faces a growing economic challenge – a substantial and increasing shortage of individuals with the skills needed to fill the new jobs the private sector is creating. Throughout the nation and in a wide range of industries, there is an urgent demand for workers trained in the STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — yet there are not enough people with the necessary skills to meet that demand. Our nation faces the paradox of a crisis in unemployment at the same time that many companies cannot fill the jobs they have to offer. In addition to the short-term consequences for businesses and individuals, we risk these jobs migrating from the U.S., creating even bigger challenges for our long-term competitiveness and economic growth.

    As an employer, we see these challenges first hand and are committed to doing what we can to help. One way we can help is to shine a light on these challenges and offer ideas and solutions. That’s why today we published a detailed whitepaper documenting ideas for a National Talent Strategy that would help secure U.S. competitiveness and economic growth. I also had the opportunity to discuss these ideas in a speech at the Brookings Institution today.

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  • Why Cloud Computing Is Efficient Computing

    Posted by Josh Henretig
    Director, Environmental Sustainability, Microsoft

    Over the weekend, the New York Times began publishing a series that looks at the environmental and local economic impacts of cloud computing. We’ve posted our perspective on these issues on the Global Foundation Services blog. We may not agree with all of the conclusions that the Times reaches, but we appreciate their attention to these important topics.

    The impact of the cloud on energy and sustainability are critical issues to all cloud users and providers, and areas in which Microsoft has done a lot of work and shared our best practices for many years.

    One area that we believe deserves more attention is how cloud computing—and the data centers that support it—can enable more efficient computing. Modern, state-of-the-art data centers managed by global cloud service providers are operated quite differently than smaller, older data centers managed by corporate IT departments.

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  • Join Brad Smith Tomorrow for a Conversation on Education & Immigration Reform Live from Brookings

    Posted by Jeff Meisner
    Editor, Microsoft on the Issues

    As the private and public sectors look to rebuild the economy, they face the same questions: How can the United States strengthen education and American competitiveness so that the next generation will have the skills they need to succeed in a rapidly changing global economy?

    On Thursday, Microsoft Executive Vice President Brad Smith will deliver keynote remarks at the Brookings Institution event, “Education and Immigration Reform: Reigniting American Competitiveness and Economic Opportunity.” In his remarks, Brad will discuss the opportunity divide facing a growing number of young people because they lack the education, skills or opportunities to succeed, and share ideas on how we can foster more forward-looking education and immigration policies.

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  • Former White House CIO Joins Microsoft for a Live Twitter Chat

    Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Theresa Payton, a cyber security expert on America Now News Magazine who manages Fortalice®, LLC, a security consulting company. Ms. Payton was chief information officer at the White House from May 2006 to September 2008.

    According to the Federal Trade Commission, 10 million people will be a victim of identity theft every year. Add to that, the Department of Homeland Security recently reported that they are seeing a new type of attack roughly every 90 seconds. And, in a recent study by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), less than half of the people polled said they feel safe from cyber threats and cybercrime.

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  • Sharing Microsoft’s YouthSpark Commitment at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting

    Posted by Lori Harnick
    General Manager, Citizenship & Public Affairs, Microsoft

    Last week, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Executive Vice President of Legal & Corporate Affairs Brad Smith launched a new big bet for the company, Microsoft YouthSpark, a companywide initiative that will create opportunities for 300 million young people around the world over the next three years. As Brad noted during the live webcast, we are mobilizing the company behind this initiative because of something we’re seeing and deeply care about – the emergence of an opportunity divide – a gap between young people who have the access, skills and opportunities to be successful and those who do not.

    I am proud to be part of this exciting and challenging endeavor, which represents a shift in our citizenship focus to dedicate the majority of our corporate philanthropy to organizations that serve young people as well as new global programs and cash grants to help connect young people with opportunities for education, employment and entrepreneurship.

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  • The Week in Tech Policy: Sept. 24th Edition

    Posted by Jeff Meisner
    Editor, Microsoft on the Issues

    In this edition of The Week in Tech Policy, we have stories on cybersecurity, e-mail privacy and new research that seeks to weigh in on the recent debate on whether college is still worth the investment.

    Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to focus on cybersecurity. FERC announced on Sept. 20 that it will create a new office intended to help the agency focus on “potential cyber and physical security risks to energy facilities under its jurisdiction.” The new office, which will be called the Office of Energy Infrastructure Security (OEIS), “will provide leadership, expertise and assistance to the Commission to identify, communicate and seek comprehensive solutions to potential risks to FERC-jurisdictional facilities from cyber attacks and such physical threats as electromagnetic pulses.”

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  • Microsoft Makes Technology Safer & Easier to Use for Aging Baby Boomers

    Posted by Bonnie Kearney
    Director, Trustworthy Computing Communications – Accessibility & Aging

    Worldwide, a “Silver Tsunami” -- an increase in the average age of the population -- is occurring. In the U.S. alone, one in five U.S. workers will be 55 or older by 2025. As part of the natural aging process, many older adults experience functional limitations, and can benefit from customizing their computing experiences to better meet their personal needs. Whether in the home, as a tool to stay connected, or in the workplace, to extend a career past what is traditionally considered “retirement age,” accessible technology can help people of all ages and abilities continue to work and play online.

    On Sept. 20 in New Orleans, AARP kicked off its annual Life @50+ National Event and Expo. This three-day conference hosts more than 20,000 AARP members and attendees.

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  • Creating Opportunities for 300 Million Young People in the Next Three Years

    Posted by Brad Smith
    General Counsel & Executive Vice President, Legal & Corporate Affairs, Microsoft

    Today we are announcing Microsoft YouthSpark, a new company-wide initiative designed to help create new opportunities for 300 million youth in 100 countries over the next three years.

    We’re launching this initiative because we’re seeing the emergence of an opportunity divide among young people: a gap between those who are prospering and others who are struggling because they lack the education, skills and opportunities they need to succeed. The evidence is clear. We have more young people on the planet than ever before, but they are experiencing a rate of unemployment that is double that of the rest of the population - in some countries youth unemployment has reached 50 percent.

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  • Working Toward a Privacy Framework for the “Big Data” Era

    Posted by Peter Cullen
    Chief Privacy Strategist, Microsoft

    Over the past several months, we’ve been convening discussions with some of the world’s foremost privacy thinkers, including representatives of regulatory bodies, government policymakers, academia, NGOs and industry to explore alternate models for privacy in a modern information economy. At meetings in Washington, D.C.; Brussels; Singapore; Sydney and Sao Paulo, we’ve debated how best to evolve the notice, choice and consent model to better meet changing societal needs. Yesterday, we advanced those discussions at a global forum here in Redmond, Washington. 

    Microsoft has a long-standing commitment to privacy and, as part of Trustworthy Computing’s 10-year milestone last January, Corporate Vice President Scott Charney suggested that, in a world of connected devices, technology-enabled information use, and the emergence of “big data,” it’s time to consider evolving the frameworks that have governed aspects of the protection of personal data. He proposed a model that shifts focus toward acceptable use of data, and he suggested specific ways to hold organizations accountable for its management, as opposed to the current common themes of collection limitation, notice and choice. 

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  • Cyberbullying Summit Set for Today at Microsoft

    Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna. Mr. McKenna is also the Republican gubernatorial candidate.

    As any parent knows, a large portion of our kids’ social lives has moved online. Like their over-the-phone chats, most of teens’ electronic conversations are innocuous. But some digital interactions, including when kids are the victims or perpetrators of cyberbullying, can be dangerous. But while most cases do not, thankfully, end tragically, they are all distressing because kids suffer tremendously – and silently.

    Preventing cyberbullying is complicated because text, email and social media conversations between our children and others are a closed loop. An increased dependence on mobile phones has also made it difficult for young people to avoid a cyber bully.

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  • Announcing “A Platform for Good” – A Place to Connect, Share and Do Good

    Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Stephen Balkam, chief executive officer of the Family Online Safety Institute.

    Today, we at the Family Online Safety Institute are launching “A Platform for Good,” a unique interactive website designed to help change the national dialogue about kids and technology, and to promote conversations between teens, their parents and teachers about using the power of the Internet and social media for good.

    There is plenty of bad news about how digital technology affects our kids. Cyberbullying, sexting, over-use, over-sharing and concerns over the 3 P’s: porn, predators and privacy. Certainly, discussions among adults, whether they are parents, policy makers or politicians, are often focused on the dangers and pitfalls of technology. This is fueled by fear-based messaging with provocative headlines and scary-sounding news stories that create an atmosphere of concern and worry over what might happen to our kids if we let them loose online.

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  • Pulse on Citizenship: Addressing the Changing Nonprofit IT Landscape at 2012 NetHope Summit

    Editor’s Note: This post is part of a monthly series from Microsoft’s Citizenship team that appears at 6 a.m. PT on the second Wednesday of every month. Pulse on Citizenship provides insight and commentary on topics and trends in corporate citizenship.

    Posted by James Rooney
    Program Manager, Technology for Good, Microsoft

    In less than a month, Microsoft will host the annual NetHope Summit here on campus. More than 150 IT officers from 34 of the world’s largest international development agencies will attend, including World Vision, CARE, Red Cross, Mercy Corps, Save the Children, Oxfam, The Nature Conservancy and many more. It gives everyone a chance to listen, learn, share information, and think about how the power of technology can change the world.

    When looking at this year’s agenda, it’s clear that the nonprofit technology space is changing. It’s not immune to some of the complicated side-effects of the fast pace of innovation. The shift from on-premise to the cloud for, well, everything. The democratization of IT with every employee wanting his or her personal devices connected to the network.

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  • The Week in Tech Policy: Sept. 10th Edition

    Posted by Jeff Meisner
    Editor, Microsoft on the Issues

    In this edition of The Week in Tech Policy, we have stories on a new Pew Center study focused on mobile app privacy, the Federal Communications Commission’s plans to measure mobile broadband speeds and more.

    Pew Center study: app users are worried about privacy. A study released by the Pew Center on Sept. 5 indicates that “than half of mobile application users have uninstalled or avoided certain apps over privacy concerns,” according to a report in Hillicon Valley. “The study found that 54 percent of app users have avoided an app when they discover how much personal information it collects or shares. About 30 percent have uninstalled an app that was already on the phone when they learned how it was using their data.”

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  • “Conversations with the Next Generation” Town Hall Held at Democratic National Convention

    Posted by Jeff Meisner
    Editor, Microsoft on the Issues

    This week Microsoft, in partnership with National Journal and The Atlantic, hosted Conversations with the Next Generation, a youth town hall in Charlotte, N.C. The conversation, convened in the midst of the Democratic National Convention, focused on critical issues for young Americans, including the economy, jobs and education.

    Town hall participants included actors and young leaders such as former White House public outreach aide Kal Penn, Voto Latino leader America Ferrera, The Creative Coalition member Alfre Woodard, StudentsFirst Founder and CEO Michelle Rhee, MTV’s Andrew Jenks, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, Young Democrats President Rod Snyder and local education leaders including Johnson C. Smith University President Dr. Ronald Carter and student Charles Hauser. Brad Smith, Microsoft General Counsel and Executive Vice President, also participated, offering opening remarks for the town hall.

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  • “Conversations with the Next Generation” To Draw Leaders in Charlotte Today

    Posted by Jeff Meisner
    Editor, Microsoft on the Issues

    Join us on Xbox LIVE or The Atlantic website TODAY at 2:30 p.m. EDT for Conversations with the Next Generation, a youth town hall discussion convened in partnership between Microsoft, National Journal and The Atlantic, being held in Charlotte, N.C. during the Democratic National Convention. The event is designed to engage our nation’s current and up-and-coming leaders on the important issues facing America's young and emerging workforce, including job creation and educational opportunity.

    [Read more...]

  • The Week in Tech Policy: Sept. 3rd Edition

    Posted by Jeff Meisner
    Editor, Microsoft on the Issues

    In this edition of The Week in Tech Policy, we have stories on the Apple v. Samsung case, Washington Monthly’s 2012 list of top universities, mobile phone text donations and more.

    Federal Aviation Administration to consider overhaul of in-flight rules for electronic devices. Frustrated you can’t use your wireless device’s cellular connection to the Internet while on a long cross-country flight? Then you’ll be relieved to know that the FAA plans to “convene a working group that will reevaluate the current regulations concerning the use of personal electronic devices on airplanes,” according to this recent report in CIO, among others. However, if you were hoping to make voice calls while in flight, prepare the be disappointed. ZDNet reports the working group won’t be considering changing the rules regarding voice calls.

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